Tired: The Cries of a Weary People

Tired.jpegI can see it in your eyes
The fear which clouds every thought

I can hear it in your words
The anxiety laced in everything you say

Fear of life itself
And all of those who walk about it
Anxious over the notion that someone somewhere just might
Take you out.

It’s scary, I know.
I feel that way too.
Every time a cop car pulls up behind me, I feel my heart sink further into my chest.
When I walk by strangers on the street, I wonder where there is malicious thought behind that half-baked smile
Or if someone aims to destroy at a park
in the mall
at church
in a school

And the government,
It’s a whole different kind of beast
Claiming to be for the people
It destroys the people 
Through lies and deception
Greed and destruction
Each of us – Black, white, Muslim and Jew – tremble in fear and trepidation with every passing moment.

And It’s only been 7 days!

It’s not supposed to be this way
Living in a constant tension between fight or flight
War exists but we were not made to live in a constant state of it
Resiliency is for the birds
We are dying
We are killing ourselves
Fear and hatred both incapacitates and alienates us
Aren’t you tired?

Aren’t you tired of that gnawing, aching feeling in the bottom of your chest
Aren’t you tired of living in between, with one foot in the grave and the other trying to walk around and feign sanity in the midst of destruction
Aren’t you tired of waking to fight to breathe, to exist in polluted air

Or of walking amongst corpses.

We are wounded people. Each of us deeply scarred.
Will we ever find a way to walk back towards each other?
Can we undo what has been already done?
Can we repair the foundation and rebuild a society that is strong, beautiful, loving, and true?
Or is this our final resting place?

Measuring the Impact of Our Lives

What will people say about you when you are gone? What will be said about your life, your family, your ministry, your church, your organization in its absence? Will people and the communities that you lived and worked in every day notice that you are no longer there? Will they sense and understand all too well what your not being there means for their lives moving forward?

I am reading this awesome book by Matt Brown, Revolutionaries (side note: if you want a good read about Church History that is practical and lively, get this book)! In it Brown, describes the life of the early apostle, James, the half brother of Jesus. This is what is said of James:

“Because of his holy life, James was called ‘The Just’ and ‘The Safeguard of the People.’ Considered a just and perfect man, James governed the church with the apostles. He drank no wine or any strong drink, ate no meat, and never shaved his head. He was the only man allowed to enter into the holy place, for he never wore wool, just linen. He would enter into the temple alone, fall on his knees and ask remission (forgiveness) for the people, doing this so often that his knees lost their sense of feeling and became hardened like the knees of a camel…He prayed so much that when he was martryed the early church could feel the effects of his missed prayers.”

I was absolutely blown away as I read that last sentence, and thought to myself how amazing it was that one person could have so much impact on an entire church community. James’ impact was so great that when he was no longer around, people recognized the spiritual void that had resulted. I wonder if the same can be said of us and so I pose this question – does what we are doing right now matter? I mean, seriously matter in the grand scheme of things? Are we doing good things or are we doing great things that will have  a profound impact on the lives around us and ultimately history?

Most of us will probably never be a James (I mean, he was the half-brother of Jesus – come on!) However, we can still be effective and powerful in the settings that God has placed us. I believe that it all comes down to doing what we know in our hearts is right – even if it costs us. Such will undoubtedly call us to take the road less traveled by others around us – family, friends, and colleagues. But remember we are not going after conventionality here, but that which makes a difference!

The apostles are great examples of people who were change makers. They rejected the status quo, held to their convictions and did what they knew was right! But history is replete with men and women of God who acted in a similar manner and we are still feeling the impact of their actions today.

So where do you stand? And what will you be remembered for? Will you stick with the status quo, and ignore your convictions? Or will you be a catalyst for change in your world? I hope that we all choose the later.

Twenty-Something for the Last Time

Today is my birthday. Yeah me! However, it is not just an ordinary birthday, but my 29th which means next year this time I will be, you guessed it – 30!

Now, attaining this milestone brings with it a whole lot of stress, anxiety and fear for some people. Some start to think about their youth that has been seemingly lost. Others think about how much they will change in the coming years. And as I reflect on this day, I have to admit that there is some of that because the last ten years, since I turned 20, have been great! I mean, I have done so much, met so many wonderful people, started a beautiful family and been to some pretty amazing places. I would not trade the experiences and accomplishments over the last 10 years for anything in the world.

However, I have also done some pretty stupid stuff and made some asinine mistakes. Oh, how I wish I could forget some of these things! But the hope is that as I grow and mature that I will leave these notions and tendencies of being a youth behind. As the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 13 – ‘When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child, but when I grew up (bolded mine), I did away with childish things.’

You see, all change is not bad. In fact, change and growth are necessary components of life. If I do not want to be the same person I was when I was 21, naive, foolish, with my head stuck in the clouds, then I have to embrace change. This is not to say that change is not hard, oftentimes it is absolutely brutal. But as a result, in the end, I become and you become, the persons that God intended for us to be.

So bring it on 30! I’m ready!

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3.18, NASB).